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Men’s Lacrosse: Loss to top competition helps squad prepare

Matthew Robison | Monday, January 28, 2013

Despite four goals from freshman attack Matt Kavanagh, Notre Dame fell to the U.S. National team 10-7 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., on Saturday. The Irish also scrimmaged Jacksonville later in the day.

Senior midfielder Ty Kimball said the weekend was more about getting some good practice in and testing their conditioning in a game situation.

“The score might not show it, but it was really just us trying to get better,” Kimball said. “We were just finding out who’s going to play when and doing what it takes on the field. We were all really excited to finally play against another color jersey.”

In his first inter-squad scrimmage, Kavanagh got the opportunity to prove himself to people he has watched play the game for years.

“It was a good time playing against some of the best guys in the country, guys I’ve been watching growing up,” Kavanagh said. “It was really cool.”

The weather in South Bend has not been cooperative for practicing on an outdoor surface. The trip to Florida allowed the Irish to practice outdoors, which is a better test of the team’s conditioning.

“We got two practices in on Friday and two scrimmages on Saturday,” Kimball said. “It was basically us preparing. We played well. The USA team was really good and I think we played really well as a team.”

At this point in the preseason, the Irish are in good shape, according to Kimball.

“We’re in a really good place right now. We can tell,” Kimball said. “We played all the games with the new NCAA rules. With those new rules, it’s going to take us being a lot more conditioned, and we did well. Even having three practices in the previous 48 hours, we did well in those two scrimmages. The conditioning held up well.”

Kavanagh said the winter training schedule benefitted the team.

“We’ve been lifting and practicing twice a day since we’ve been back to school,” Kavanagh said.

In an effort to increase the pace of the game, the NCAA has instituted a shot clock for the 2013 season. In the past, teams were issued a stall warning if they did not make advancements toward the goal on offense. Once that warning was issued, the teams had to keep the ball in the possession box. 

This season, a 30-second shot clock will start once that warning is issued. The timing is kept by the referees, and schools are not required to install shot clocks in stadiums. After the first 20 seconds, the referees are required to do a 10-second hand count.

Kimball said the new rules will force teams to be in better shape, but that should not be an issue.

“What really helps us out is the depth on the team,” Kimball said. “That’s going to be a big thing. Guys can step in when they need to, when guys get tired.”

Notre Dame is the preseason favorite to win the Big East title after a vote by the conference’s seven head coaches. Senior goaltender John Kemp, who made six saves against the U.S. team, was name the conference preseason co-defensive Player of the Year. Junior midfielder Jim Marlatt, senior defender Matt Miller, senior attack Sean Rogers and junior attack Westy Hopkins were all named to the preseason all-conference team in addition to Kemp.

Notre Dame will next face Detroit at home Saturday in an exhibition at 7 p.m.

Contact Matthew Robison at mrobison@nd.edu